Helpful ways to deal with grief and loss

How To Help Someone Who's Grieving

Don't Go M.I.A

Stay in contact with them. Let them know you’re there for them and happy to listen.

Listen

If they do want to talk, just listen and don’t judge. Sometimes it helps just to have company.

Chat with Them

stay in contact with them whether its a phone call, text or home visit.

Don't Judge

Allow them to express themselves. They may be overwhelmed and be experiencing a range of emotions

WATCH: How to Cope and Overcome Grief

Healthy ways to deal with grief and loss

Grief is an overwhelming emotion after losing a loved one. Although it’s a natural part of life, it can be accompanied by prolonged periods of depression. 

Research shows that people have different ways of coping with grief. And depending on the connection you had with the deceased, the grieving process may take months. When the pain is too much, it can be difficult to eat or sleep – this is normal. 

Here are some events that can result in grief:

  • Loss of a job
  • Divorce
  • Loss of a cherished dream
  • Suffering a miscarriage
  • Loss of a pet
  • Losing a friend

It’s worth mentioning that subtle loses like changing jobs or relocating to another city can cause grief. Whatever the loss, it’s personal. You should not feel ashamed about the way you feel. But whatever may have caused the grief you can overcome it and move on with life.

A look at the grieving process

Let’s face it; we are all different. The way we cope with grief will depend on many factors like personality, experience, faith, and the significance of the loss. Since the grieving process takes time, you cannot force the healing time. Some people can take weeks, months, or even years. Whatever the experience, you should allow the process to run naturally.

Although grieving is inevitable after a loss, there are many ways to deal with it. You should find the courage to move on with life. First, you should acknowledge you’re in pain. While it may trigger different emotions, you should understand that the process is unique to you. Secondly, you must seek out face-to-face support. Don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Facts about grieving

You should not ignore the pain that comes with grief. For smooth healing, you should actively deal with grief. The pain won’t go if you ignore it.

It’s okay to cry during the grieving process. While there’s a common myth that those who don’t cry don’t feel sorry for the loss, this is far from the truth. Those who don’t cry have other ways of showing grief.

Since we can’t grief forever, moving on with life doesn’t mean that you have forgotten. It simply means you’ve accepted the loss. As we move on through life, these memories can define the kind of people we are.

Feeling sad is a normal reaction to a loss. You should not put on a brave front to your friends or family. Just show your true feelings.

Stages of grief

The stages of grief are universally accepted and experienced by people from all walks of life. In 1969, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross introduced 5 stages of grief.

Once we lose a loved one, we spend different times in each stage. And because the loss doesn’t occur in any specific order, we often move between different stages. In each stage, a thread of hope emerges. As long as there’s hope, there’s life and vice versa. Keep in mind that some people don’t experience grief in a specific order – this is perfectly normal. Some people will experience grief internally while others can be outwardly emotional. So, you should not judge anyone. Read and learn more!

Denial and isolation

Once you learn about the loss of a loved one, you’re likely to deny the reality of the particular situation. Sometimes you’ll hear people say, `this can’t be’ `this isn’t happening’ etc. It’s a natural way to rationalize our emotions. Denial buffers the shock of loss and numbs our emotions. This stage is temporary and comes with a wave of pain.

Anger

Perhaps you’ve heard someone saying; who is to blame? Why is this happening? As the masking effects begin to wear, the pain re-emerges. These intense emotions are expressed in terms of anger. The bereaved may direct anger to the deceased.

Bargaining

After the feeling of helplessness, we may start using statements like `if only’. For example, if you have lost a loved one, family members may start saying things like;

  • If only we had sought an alternative treatment
  • If only we got a second opinion

These words are an attempt to bargain. And, to postpone the inevitable we can make a deal with God. There’s a feeling that we could have done something differently.

Depression

This stage is associated with sadness and regret. We worry about the cost of burial and how to bid our friend farewell.

Acceptance

This is not a mark of bravery but a sign that we’ve overcome anger or denial. There’s a lot of calmness after accepting that this is a natural way of life.

Common symptoms of grief

Truth be told, everything you experience in the early stages of grief is normal. It may sound like a bad dream or you’re just about to go crazy. So, what are the emotional symptoms of grief?

Shock/disbelief

After you learn about the loss of a loved one, it can be hard to accept what has happened. You may deny the truth until you see them. And depending on the relationship you shared, you may keep expecting them to show up even though they are gone.

Fear

After a significant loss, you may feel anxious and insecure. There’s fear of how we will face life without that person.

Guilt and anger

You may regret certain things you didn’t do or say when the person was alive. Of course, there’s an obvious feeling that you didn’t do enough to prevent death. Apart from that, you may feel angry and resentful.

Sadness

This is arguably the most accepted symptom of grief. It’s associated with feelings like despair, loneliness, emptiness, etc. Sometimes, you may feel emotionally unstable.

Where to seek support after a loss

The pain that comes with grief can make us retreat to our shells. To speed up the healing process, we can’t ignore the help of family and friends. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Grief can be confusing

Some people may feel uncomfortable when they try to comfort someone who’s grieving. It gets difficult if you’re seeking support from people who have never experienced a loss themselves. But you should not use this narrative to avoid social contact.

Join a support group

You should share your sorrow with other people who have gone through the same problem. A support group can be funeral homes, local hospitals, etc.

Talk to a counselor

If the feelings are too much to bear, a counselor should be your go-to option. A professional therapist will help you overcome all the obstacles. Sometimes, the loss can be extremely disturbing so you need the right guidance to move on with your life.

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